Written By: Lindsey Hecht
Newly polished dance floors, classy clothes, ancient chrome microphones – These are just a few images that come to mind when listening to Jenni Muldaur’s newest CD, “Dearest Darlin’.”
‘I’ve got a feeling’ opens the album with original drum beats that subtly emit foot tapping rhythms, and before you know it – you’re three tracks in and one smile wider. Jenni Muldaur has the uncanny ability to transport you back in time. “Dearest Darlin'” begins with an early bluesy-jazz, and transcends to sock-hop stepping. Through contemporary acoustic, and studio mixed tracks, Muldaur sends you back through the decades, reintroducing listeners to the tunes of past and present generations.
The album becomes fairly modern, and picks up a faster tempo through the second and third tracks to create a dance party feel. A theme emerges and a picture comes to life where boys and girls sit on opposite sides of the high school gymnasium. ‘Just ain’t no love’ is the great tune that brings us to our feet to join one another on the dance floor, meshing together and losing inhibition. The instruments aren’t lost in the excitement however, because Muldaur makes sure to add flair with a saxophone solo that sits atop timeless music.
On “Dearest Darlin’,” the instruments harmonize so well when operating in concert that Muldaur’s unique raspy voice is barely discernable from the well played Saxophone. Jenni opens a portal to an earlier genre of Duffy, with a musical concoction that brings more than just notes.
Farther along the album in ‘Hopali,’ we can hear clapping, and acoustics. With this track, Muldaur demonstrates her ability to sing without the hype of success and overdone studio production. Her real talent shines through and she spotlights her background singers by including them in the metrics of studio surround sound. You can actually hear the feeling of people coming together to enjoy music, and we bask in the earlier light of original jam bands who use what they’ve got to make tunes come to life.
Either way, if you want great vocals and musical arrangements with endless variety, Jenni Muldaur is your girl. Not only does she effortlessly master folk and blues, but she creates inspiration that awakens the soul. In ‘Lost Someone’ she emanates music that comes from a place of desperation and sadness, and her albums exposes lyrics ranging from happy and joyful, to serene and longing.
Throughout Dearest Darlin’ the chords sing for themselves. I can almost smell the newly waxed hard wood floors, just waiting for dance-feet scuff marks to wear them in. But no matter how many times you hear these songs, they won’t become trite as you wear out the soles of your shoes dancing to this modern time capsule of an album.